Illinois Districts: SAT with Essay, In Person & School-Administered for Class of 2021 (Seniors)

Context: The Class of 2021 missed the school-administered SAT with Essay at all IL schools (scheduled for April 2020) due to the pandemic & the IL Stay At Home Order. 

UPDATE 9.21 7PM: There's been some press coverage on this issue- see far below.

UPDATE 9.18 5PM: An email was sent to CPS parents this afternoon.

We've seen some chatter on this and we've been fielding some questions. We’re providing the below in hopes that you can ask more pointed questions within your family and/or to your school, then make an informed decision on if your senior should take the in person SAT now or in the Spring 2021. 

Here's what we know about the In Person & School-Administered SAT for the Class of 2021…

  1. DATES: Primary Dates Wed, Sept, 23 OR Wed, Oct 14 (CPS chose Sept 23) | Make-Up: Tues, Oct, 27 | The SAT will also be offered Spring 2021 (Source: See Ques 1 in this ISBE FAQ
    • Notice in Ques 1 the emphasis on the word choice. In communications we’ve seen from some CPS high schools, students are given a choice between a Sept & an Oct SAT date (see Ques 1a which states schools can do this.) Seniors also have the choice of a Fall 2020 SAT OR a Spring 2021 SAT- yes, some CPS HSs are communicating this.
    • To earn a HS diploma, ISBE does require students to participate in a school-administered SAT with Essay. Notice in Ques 1: “This [Fall2020] administration will enable eligible grade 12 students to meet the diploma requirement referenced in the Illinois School Code and ISBE Rule…” Note that the SAT will be offered in Spring 2021 to seniors as well. 
    • Also notice in Ques 1: “...and to have the opportunity to receive a timely college- and scholarship-reportable score.” Does your child need a score to apply for college or for a scholarship? They might, they might not. Discuss and research. 
    • Also worth noting in Ques 1: “Eligible grade 12 students who choose not to participate in the ISBE-provided SAT with Essay fall 2020 administration must participate in the state’s final accountability assessment (i.e., SAT with Essay) administration in spring 2021 to meet the diploma requirement.” 
  2. More context: The requirement that a student must take a school-administered SAT with Essay for HS graduation is an Illinois state requirement (see quotes above linking this to IL School Code and an ISBE Rule.) This requirement is not part of ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act; federal education law). Thus, no federal waiver is needed here--- IL could waive this graduation requirement for the Class of 2021. (We can not guarantee this will happen. Just want to put this in context for you.)
  3. For family discussion & research: Press release from Fair Test, Sept 9, 2020: Two-thirds of all US colleges and universities are test-optional or test-blind for fall 2021 applicants 
  4. Consider speaking to your senior’s counselor if you are wondering about specific colleges your child wants to apply to, specific scholarships your child is looking at, and/or other post graduation options & their respective requirements for application and admissions. 
  5. Some CPS high schools are looking for volunteers to proctor the SAT. Proctors do have to meet the requirements to volunteer with CPS.
  6. On health & safety protocols for the in-person SAT: Some CPS high schools are offering staggered start times & entrances. We’ve definitely seen communications on masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning. We’ve also seen communications on participants being required to conduct a health screening (temperature check, certify you don’t have certain symptoms, etc) before entering the building. Do make sure protocols are in place and ask questions if something is unclear.

Resources Used:  

IL State Board of Ed (ISBE) resources: SAT, PSAT10, PSAT 8/9; ISBE FAQ on Fall 2020 SAT

Emails sent to parents from some CPS HSs

Conversations with parents and educators via social media

H/T to Illinois Families for Public Schools too!


Press coverage from Chalkbeat Chicago:

Illinois college counselors to state: Call off SAT graduation requirement

Many Illinois schools are closed, but the SAT goes on. Why that’s a problem for some.

***We will update this website if necessary and possibly to add in considerations for In Person PSAT for the Class of 2020 (juniors)***